Min­is­ter hoses down log­ging fears

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Times News - Karen Hunt

EN­VI­RON­MENT Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son last week faced ques­tions in Par­lia­ment about new pro­ce­dures which a se­nior bu­reau­crat warned could wind back the pro­tec­tion of old growth for­est.

How­ever, Mr Daw­son said there had been no change in the def­i­ni­tion of old growth used to as­sess the Barrabup block near Nannup.

“The def­i­ni­tion of old growth for­est has not changed and is con­sis­tent with the Na­tional For­est Pol­icy 1992 def­i­ni­tion,” he said via a spokes­woman.

How­ever, Greens South West MLC Diane Evers, in Par­lia­ment on Oc­to­ber 10, asked him whether pro­ce­dures in­tro­duced in March made it more dif­fi­cult for for­est to qual­ify as old growth.

Mr Daw­son said new Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions pro­ce­dures in­cluded a two-step sur­vey with an ini­tial thresh­old of six stumps or fewer over 2ha.

The depart­ment pro­ce­dures “iden­tify sim­i­lar or more old growth for­est” than the pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tion and Parks Com­mis­sion rules, he said.

But emails tabled in Par­lia­ment from Con­ser­va­tion and Parks Com­mis­sion di­rec­tor Roland Mau de­tail con­cerns that the pro­ce­dures could have the op­po­site ef­fect. “Us­ing the pro­posed stump pa­ram­e­ters and bound­ary rule­sets as out­lined in the draft pro­ce­dure may lead to old growth for­est ar­eas be­com­ing avail­able for log­ging,” he wrote.

Conservationists raised con­cerns about how Barrabup data was col­lected and the depart­ment’s in­de­pen­dence, say­ing the pre­vi­ous old growth thresh­old fig­ure was five or fewer stumps per hectare. “The DBCA cri­te­ria for iden­ti­fy­ing, as­sess­ing and de­mar­cat­ing old growth jar­rah for­est is a clear de­vi­a­tion from the Con­ser­va­tion and Parks Com­mis­sion’s method­ol­ogy,” WA For­est Al­liance spokes­woman Jess Beck­er­ling said on Mon­day.

She called for a re­trac­tion and re­view of the depart­ment’s pro­ce­dures and clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the com­mis­sion’s re­la­tion­ship with the depart­ment.

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